(0212) Gran Caracas [draft I]

Thick, ashy smog;
Cool breeze rustling through mango trees
A symphony of honking and hydraulic hisses: buses
Countless stray dogs bark hungry,
scrounging bones from leftover tin box lunches

The bent sound of brassy salsa brava
escaping a zooming car
incessant chatter, thousands of anonymous voices
fill ears with desire, humor, and argument

Taxi driver vociferating four-letter words to
distracted pedestrian, glued to his Blackberry,
lips flapping on, middle finger responding;
hacking coughs, cat-calls, cackling gossip
and a pigeon’s flutter

Pick-up truck U-turning at main avenue curb
Collective expletives explode, horns and cop whistles
Driver’s satisfied grin as arms quickly steer onto road:
Viveza criolla –the homeland’s cunning- lives on

Massive ring of lush mountains
battle concrete mammoths to stroke blue skies;
Acrid sewage competes with fried ripe plantains
for nostrils’ attention; sweet, feminine scents trump all

Viejas wave numbered tickets in line to impervious public officer,
as tiny Chevy Aveos speed through yellow lights into rush-hour gridlock;
impatience permeates, until tensions shatter at the sound of
witty Caraqueño punch lines and laughter

Fiery sun slowly hides,
leaving bright trails of orange, pink firmament

Asphalt arteries shine, white and red
Quick hollow pops awaken valley of bullets; primetime novelas
switch on, as middle-class gates shut closed for the evening
Control, cardinal, conurbation, capital

Caracas, Venezuela

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